Observations from Carrier Ethernet APAC Conference
I recently attend the Carrier Ethernet APAC conference in Hong Kong. I had the honor to speak at a panel on behalf of the MEF, as well as to chair the first day afternoon sessions on “Advances in Cloud and Data Centres”. [note: this article originally appeared in Carrier Ethernet News]
The conference was held at the stylish Mira hotel, which featured very modern rooms – and “interesting” decorations in the meeting rooms, as shown in the nearby photo.
Monday: Pre-Conference Seminar
Monday started with some MEF tutorials and updates in the morning and some workshops in the afternoon. During a morning session on management in CE 2.0 a very good question was raised: Why isn’t SOAM more widely deployed? The answers given by the presenter were that it is hard to set up, hard to use, hard to extract data and there are interoperability issues. In addition, an audience member added that it can conflict with Layer 2 protocols such a Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). We in the industry still have some work to do here.
Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent each presented workshops on Monday afternoon. I attended the Cisco side, and found their Open Network Environment (ONE) approach to SDN to be interesting. They are trying to balance innovation with stability. However, there was some controversy as an audience member made some harsh comments about the wisdom and viability of the Cisco approach. Could he have been a plant from a competitor?
Tuesday: Conference Day One
The conference proper got under way on Tuesday, with an amazing number of service providers attending. In fact, the number of attendees from operators out-numbered those from equipment suppliers – an unusual situation.
In one of the keynotes, Greg S. Young, CEO of Sri Lanka Telecom, set the stage by noting the growth in the cloud market. In particular, the Southeast Asia cloud market for SMEs is growing at CAGR of 58%. No wonder clouds are hot!
Later I was in a panel chaired by Michael Howard from Infonetics. The topic was “Making the most of the next big thing - Remaking CE Revenue Streams.” One of the topics was the use of multi-CoS. I asked the audience how many were currently deploying services with multi-CoS, and only got a few positive responses. One of my fellow panelists said her company (Tata) was deploying such services. I asked her if their customers were getting used to low cost/high performance services such that they were expecting premium results from best effort services, She said that they were, and it was an ongoing issue that they had to deal with. I think that this issue is representative of the large challenge that operators are facing: increasing expectations, competition and costs, while revenues are decreasing.
In a subsequent presentation, Soo Shu Yee of Singtel identified four disruptive mega-trends that are shaping the market: 1) internet of things, 2) BYOD, 3) virtualization, 4) cloud services. I hadn’t really thought about the challenges of BYOD, but I will pay more attention to this going forward.
I chaired the Stream A sessions in the afternoon on the topic of “Trends in Clouds and Data Centres”. It started with my usual award of a cash prize to an audience member
Who could identify the three main components of CE 2.0 (for future reference, they are Multi-CoS, Interconnected and Managed). We then moved to a panel discussion, where inevitably the topic of SDN came up. Perhaps smarting from the previous day’s treatment of his company, the Cisco representative made some provocative comments questioning the scalability of SDN approaches. This position was challenged by the other panelists. Every technology faces scalability challenges, but I think that they are addressable in the case of SDN.
The hosting IIR team and I had to scramble a bit as we had a no-show for one of the slots, and another that was traveling to the show. Fortunately he made it just in time (but only after giving 5 updates to the technician driving the slides).
The last speaker in my session, and one of the most interesting, was Yoshinori Koike of NTT. His presentation mentioned MPLS-TP as example of SDN. I hadn’t thought of MPLS-TP in that way, but I think that it makes sense. In addition to using SDN for their internal operation, he also mentioned the possibility of deploying SDN as a service. I found this possibility astounding. Is it feasible? Would an end user pay for it? Only time will tell.
In the evening we were treated to a traditional music and dance performance featuring a not very fearsome dragon.
Wednesday: Day 3
Things started to thin out a bit on the last day. One highlight was the panel discussion on high speed services. One operator notes that service over legacy TDM interfaces will be in place for at least 5 years, and longer for SDH. The only thing surprising about this position is how long we have been hearing it. Another noted their plans to use SDN in the WAN for bandwidth management and optimization, but that it was still a few years out.
Overall the conference was well attended and meaty in content. If you missed it I hope that you will have a chance to attend next year.
You can see more info on the conference at the Twitter hashtag #ceapac.